Friday, July 16, 2004

our wedding anniversary
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Dinner at Saint Julien

Appetizers
(Does not include the very yummy home-made bread including a particular tasty Multigrain one)
One dozen of Fresh Oysters accompanied by a shallots with vinegar sauce
This was not on the menu and we each had 2 pieces except for Melvin and me who had the extra piece from Lynette and Derek. The oysters were creamy and fresh although they weren't the really big and juicy kind.
One order of "Cassolette d’escargots au beurre d’ail et persil, flan de courgettes"
This was basically a Cassolette of pan seared escargots with garlic and parsley butter. The middle of the casserole was a small round cake-shaped white item that tasted like cheese. What was most interesting though was the sprinkle of sunflower seeds that tasted really good eaten with the cheese and the light layer of sauce in the casserole.
One order of Gratineed Mussels
There was enough for the six of us to have at least 3 pieces each. Very tasty and reminded me of the mussels from Thanh Long. Had the same pesto-like sauce that would have gone very well with toasted bread.
 
Middle Course
Six orders of Foie gras de canard poëlé et sauce aux morilles et Cognac
We were SOOOO greedy. At this point, we were having trouble finishing up the exquisitely prepared Pan seared duck liver with morel mushrooms and Cognac sauce and it took all my willpower to remember how much I love foie gras in order to finish up the two thick pieces of juicy foie gras. And that pretty much gives an idea of how stuffed we were already.  As such, dad requested to have one main course cancelled and fortunately Derek's order of Pan seared prawn and scallops had not been prepared yet. This meant Derek had to eat mum's order instead. Funny thing is mum usually never orders main course when we go for big meals like this but she was either feeling very fit/hungry or was completely persuaded by the description given of her main course by Parthi (our Server).
Six mini orders of Bisque de homard et Saint Jacques à l’aioli et croûtons
The Lobster bisque soup with sea scallop, garlic aioli and croutons is supposedly another trademark dish of Chef Julien. We were served six mini portions in a cup just to have a taste of the soup. In spite of how close we were to being bloated, we finished every drop of that creamy lobster bisque.
 
Main Entree
Dad - Pièce de cabillaud rôtie à la Provençale au vinaigre de balsamique et basilic
Simply named as Roasted cod fish “à la Provençale” with caramelized balsamic vinegar and basil oil, the words 'balsamic vinegar' alone convinced me that this would be the fish I would select if I'd felt like eating one. I tasted one tiny piece of the cod fish as I was pretty apprehensive at this point about fiinshing up my own Main Entree.
Derek - Pigeon de Bresse rôti au foie gras et vin rouge, risotto aux champignons sauvages
The order of Pan seared Bresse pigeon and duck liver with red wine reduction, risotto with wild mushrooms was initially Mum's and it's no wonder Parthi was giving such a rave review of the dish. The meat was tender and juicy. Definitely deserving of being a signature dish as well. Unfortunately this was probably too much foie gras in one night and Derek had some difficulty finishing up his very rich dinner.
Lynette & Me - One order each of Gratineed Lobster with Gruyere Cheese and Ratatouille
Not on the menu so I don't have the fancy French name for this dish. It was the most recommended item by Parthi for the night and considering how we both love cheese, this was definitely an excellent combination. Also, lobster is not a very filling main course (although cheese does help to fill up the gaps). The cheesiness was well offset by a tart Ratatouille and left the diner without a feeling of having overdosed on the cheese. Very nicely done and I finished up both the lobster and the ratatouille, although Lynette didn't care much for the peppers in the vegetable stew.
Melvin - Carré d’agneau rôti et jus au thym et olives noires, gratin boulangère et fêves
Otherwise known as Roast rack of lamb with thyme, and tapanade sauce, gratin of potato and onion and olive oil in simple English, the dish was pretty tasty although nothing very special in my opinion. Still prefer more sauce with my meat and this one did not have much sauce so I felt the lamb was a little dry.
 
Cheese Affinés and Desserts
Chariot de fromages affinés
Melvin wanted to eat cheese badly so we ordered this Trolley of affinés French cheese which he basically shared with Mum. Edith Bompard (wife of Chef Julien with a HK accented English) served up the trolley and gave detailed description of the cheese. Believe that typically such an order involves only a selection of a few of the cheeses. In this case, Edith did a fantastic job of slicing just a tiny bit of each cheese in a clockwise direction from mild to strong. Great service to the end!
Ile flottante au coulis de pistaches et caramel
We were all too full to have dessert so I asked for a cup of coffee. However Edith had asked if we were celebrating an occasion and found out it was for my birthday. As such, this Floating island with pistachio coulis and caramel was served with a candle on the side while Edith and another one of her staff sang the Birthday song to me. This was close to midnight or possibly even midnight already and most of the restaurant staff had left. Apparently their policy is to close when the last guest leaves (no specific time so the guest does not feel rushed). This dessert tasted like dark chocolate Kit Kat wafer (in Edith's words) and the homemade pistachio ice cream complemented the thick chocolatey taste. Very yummy. On top of that, they served each one of us complimentary chocolate truffle and almond biscuit. The chocolate truffle probably deserves its own heading because the dark chocolate melted so nicely in the mouth that it was almost like nearly coming to an orgasm only to find it ending too quickly.
 
----- So that ends my dinner with the family at Saint Julien... -----

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